Let's start this blog off with something innocuous - books. I love books. I read a lot of books. Seriously. I'm on pace to read over 20 books this year. Two odd things about me - it hasn't always been this way. I have a case of adult-onset book adoration. I'm 35 right now and I only started reading and enjoying reading since my mid to late twenties.
I used to hate reading. I have always been a slow reader, maybe that contributed to my book loathing. But I think the main thing was that I wasn't reading anything that interested me. I only read out of obligation. I was assigned books to read in high school and college and I hated every page of it. Somehow I got an A in English in 11th grade without reading one of the main books we studied - Moby Dick. I wrote a paper on this book and I took at least one test covering this book - without reading it. I read parts of it, for sure, but I could never get through more than a page without my mind wandering and then I'd forget what I had read and then have to start over. That's for the birds! :)
I think what turned me around was my wife, Cori. When we started having kids, she insisted on reading to them at an early age. She (and I guess we) has instilled in them a love for learning which extends to reading (among other things) and witnessing how that all unfolded over the years pushed me in the right direction I think. Reading books that I'm interested in and that I want to read makes all the difference. Growing up, I didn't think that was an option.
I'm not sure I can categorize what types of books I like to read. I like biographies, autobiographies, historical fiction, modern-day fiction, books about war, books about growing up, books about race, mysteries and even some sci-fi/fantasy books.
But most of all, I like books that change the way I think about the world, rather than telling me what I should think. So, to wrap up the first official post of this new blog, I'll list some books I've read recently (last couple years) that have changed the way I think about the world.
- Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin
- Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
- Divine Nobodies, Jim Palmer
- So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore, Jake Colsen
- Crunchy Cons, Rod Dreher
In general, I think reading helps shape your worldview. For the longest time I had no worldview of my own, it was only inherited from my parents and cultivated by the church. I've found that reading has enabled me to define my own worldview apart from the narrow-minded, legalistic, "we're right and everyone else is wrong" mentality common in mainstream Evangelical Christianity today.
Perhaps later I'll give a list of my favorite all time books. That will be harder, but is definitely doable and necessary.